A new initiative is working to bring access to expanded cancer therapy options to regional South Australia. This follows a Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project grant supporting a team of clinicians from Country Health SA, Flinders University and the Flinders Medical Centre to aid future clinical cancer tele-trials.

Executive Director of Medical Services at Country Health SA, Dr. Hendrika Meyer, says the initiative is a step in the right direction to improving cancer therapy options for regional patients.

"It is exciting to see our researchers and clinicians from across different areas working together to improve access for regional patients," Dr. Meyer says. "The potential of having access to clinical trials in regional SA will allow patients to participate in various cancer clinical trials closer to home."

"This will benefit patients by resulting in less travel, less time spent away from family and less financial burden. The trials will help us understand more about cancer treatment, and what life is like for those people who are forced to live with cancer," Dr. Meyer said.

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive, Mr. Lincoln Size, said the Beat Cancer Project is at the forefront of research investment in the state and congratulated Country Health SA and Flinders University on receiving the grant.

Cancer treatment

"We hope that the grant will allow us to make great inroads in cancer treatment in regional communities and reduce the financial and emotional burden of a cancer diagnosis for regional South Australians," Mr. Size said.

"We are looking forward to seeing the project develop over the next four years and achieve positive outcomes. We are unbelievably proud of the work we have achieved since the Beat Cancer Project started in 2011 and are committed to working with the State Government, SAHMRI and the universities to continue to invest in research right here in our state," Mr. Size said.

Country Health SA oncologist and chief investigator of the new project, Flinders University academic Dr. Dagmara Poprawski, said there are currently no cancer clinical trials offered outside metropolitan Adelaide.

"The benefits to cancer patients participating in clinical trials are well recognized, particularly the ability to increase patient access to a full suite of therapy options including novel therapies," Dr. Poprawski says.

"While we are at the very early stages of a four-year project, we hope the tele-clinical cancer trial model will improve trial participation rates in non-metropolitan areas," Dr. Poprawski says.

"We will now look at the best way for patients from the South East to be recruited, treated and to attend follow?up visits virtually from Mt Gambier Hospital directly to metropolitan sites like Flinders Medical Centre," Dr. Poprawski says.